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Cut The Crap
2008-04-30 17:19
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The first three Yankees to come to the plate last night reached base, but with the bases loaded and no outs, the Bombers only managed to plate two of those men. After sending seven men to the plate in that inning and making Jeremy Bonderman throw 27 pitches, they only got three more men on base all night against Bonderman and lefty reliever Clay Rapada, and none of those three reached second base.

Andy Pettitte held a slim 2-1 lead heading into the fifth, but just as he did in Cleveland, blew it on a home run in the fifth, this one a two-run shot by Marcus Thames. Placido Polanco, who is 6 for 10 on the series, led off the sixth with a solo shot off Pettitte, who yielded another run later that inning. Polanco hit another off Kyle Farnsworth in the eighth to set the final at 6-2.

That thoroughly dispiriting and spiritless performance by the Yankees was made all the more dreary by the news mid-game that Phil Hughes is being put on the disabled list due to a sore right oblique muscle. The story Hughes and the Yankees seem to have cobbled together is that Hughes tweaked the muscle in his rain-shortened start in Chicago, but didn't think it was severe enough to mention. After coming out of Tuesday's came, he told the trainers that he was having some discomfort there. The pain became worse overnight, and team doctor Stuart Hershon told Hughes and the team that Hughes would likely have to miss his next start, thus prompting the Yankees, who were already discussing what to do with their struggling youngster, to place Hughes on the DL.

Of course, Joe Girardi has made such a habit of lying to the press about team injuries and team decisions and so many injuries--from Morgan Ensberg's ankle to Wilson Betemit's conjuctivitis, to Joba Chamberlain's hamstrings, to this one--have either come out of nowhere or been unsubstantiated rumors, that it's become impossible to take the team at it's word, particularly when the DL gives them an easy short-term solution for Hughes struggles. Hughes said after the game that he hasn't had an MRI. So we're left wondering if we should be concerned about an injury-prone young pitcher with a troublesome oblique injury, something that conjures comparisons to the A's extremely talented and extremely fragile Rich Harden, or pleased that Hughes is going to get a minimum of two weeks to clear his mind and work on his mechanics and tertiary pitches in the hope of rebooting his season in mid-May while the rotation gets a temporary upgrade in the person of Darrell Rasner (who has gone 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and 4.5 K/BB ratio for Scranton thus far).

This all puts a very bad taste in my mouth, yes because of the team's poor play (3.17 runs scored per game and a 2-4 record over their last six games), yes because of the talent stacking up on the disabled list (Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Phil Hughes all hitting the DL within the span of four days), but above all because the new administration seems determined to leave the team's fans and the media who inform those fans in the dark.

Comments (71)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-30 20:52:45
1.   Mattpat11
This team couldn't even tell the truth about when A-Rod was getting an MRI. You guys really fooled us!
2008-04-30 21:03:00
2.   Shaun P
I find no tactic advantages whatsoever in all this lying. All it does, win or lose, is piss me off. What's the point? If they want to keep info secret, fine, but then say nothing, don't lie.

I'd also like to see the Yanks stop hacking at everything. Bonderman had 21 BB in 27 IP before tonight. He walked just 2 tonight. After the first, he threw 73 pitches in almost 7 innings, barely 10 pitches/inning. That's inexcusable. Its like the offense is stuck in some crazy repeat of '04 ALCS games 5 and 6. Sigh.

2008-04-30 21:23:54
3.   Zack
Its like the Yankees are trying to imitate the Patriots and Belichick, which nobody finds endearing. Not even Patriots fans I know can stand the cryptic and smarmy evasiveness. Oh well...

That would all be palatable if this team could hit. Its gone beyond waiting for things to click, and beyond exasperation, into pure loathing. The combination of a whole team stocking the DL and an already pathetic offense makes this a dreadfully, dreadfully boring and uninteresting team...

2008-04-30 21:38:52
4.   Popcult
What really gets me about the pitching situation is that entering this season, both the Yanks and the Red Sox faced similar situations: 2 young pitchers in the mix for the starting rotation. One general manager had the foresight to prepare for the possibility that one or both youngsters might not be ready and the other made little-to-no backup contingency plan. Now here we are 1 month into the season and Theo Epstein looks smart and Cashman looks like a unprepared dope. What really ticks me off is Buchholz/Lester are holding their own AND the Bosox still have Bartolo Colon waiting in the wings. We have Hughes/Kennedy who have thus far been way overmatched AND we have no innings-eating veteran arm to provide a safety net. I hate to say it, but you have to say the Red Sox are a better-run organization than the Yankees at this moment.
2008-04-30 21:44:18
5.   Zack
4 Wait, how exactly did Epstein prepare? Actually, Buccholz was forced into the rotation when Schilling went down. And you consider Colon insurance? Nobody wanted Colon, and I would much much much rather trot out Rasner and others than his fat, old, no upside retread body.

The problem in the past is precisely having those "innings eating veteran arms" like Colon who inevitable prove their true mettle, which is suckatude. Remember Donovan Osborne, Al Leiter, Darrell May, Tim Redding, Sidney Ponson, Scott Erickson etc. You really want more of that? Yeeesh

And I won't even get into that last line

2008-04-30 22:11:14
6.   Chyll Will
4 I kinda disagree with that last sentiment, but only because the sentiment is likely wrought by circumstances. The Yankees are not hitting, obviously not something this organization planned on happening. On more than one occasion I've heard it said that the young guys pitch with more confidence when they have run support in the beginning, something that the lineup has failed to give them more often than not lately. I think if you see these guys pitch with a lead more often than not, the results would be different.

Boston had lineup issues as well, but Manny picked up the slack when Papi wasn't hitting. Our big hitters are still hurting, and we've lost key players in key positions (Jeter, Alex, Jorge) not to mention poor starts by Giambi and Cano, guys we count on. That's not part of the vision this organization had during the off-season or at the start of the season. Not even a managerial genius would be able to put together a dominant record under those circumstances, unless he was very lucky with his strategy.

But no, I don't like the lying. If Joe feels like he's under the gun from day one and has to lie in order to create a buffer between the clubhouse and the media (or whatever reason he's doing it), maybe he's not the guy to run this club after all. The results I chalk up to bad luck and unfortunate circumstances, but the misdirection or lack of credible info is misguided and will only lead to dire consequences down the line. When you tell one lie, you have to tell more to cover the first one. Anyone looking at that in the future could easily decide they want nothing to do with it (FA, draft choice, etc.)

2008-04-30 22:11:55
7.   tommyl
Cliff, I've been in a bad mood all night and was hoping I was overeacting. I usually use your write up as a refreshing burst of reality and perspective. Unfortunately, you seem to be thinking precisely along every single line of bad that I have been. Sigh. Remember when we won opening day 3-2 on a crisp, well pitched game by Wang. Was that really only a few weeks ago?

Here's hoping IPK continues to improve tomorrow night. I just hope we get to see PKH again this season in the majors. The most frustrating part for anyone watching the postgame interview was Girardi said he'd not be allowed to throw for "awhile." Someone (I actually think it was PeteAbe) pressed him on what "awhile" meant, because you know, a week? a month? a decade? Finally Girardi said, "5 days or so." Soooo...that would mean he'd be missing a bullpen session and maybe one start. If they wanted to send him down or give him a break, then just do it. Whatever you want to say about Hughes pitching this season he has been nothing but stand up, mature and honest about everything. He refused to blame Stewart last night for any of the crossups, he said his "injury" didn't hinder him and he just pitched badly. I wish Joe and Cash could be as mature sometimes. Get better soon Phil, we'll miss you.

2008-04-30 22:13:18
8.   Chyll Will
5 You get the root beer this time, my friend. Much more succinct >;)
2008-04-30 22:16:43
9.   Zack
8 Mmmmm, root beer...
2008-04-30 22:16:54
10.   tommyl
4 Well it helps when one of your youngsters throws 8 shutout innings now doesn't it? I fail to see how the Red Sox have "planned" better. They have two kids in the rotation, a legit ace, a good #2 and some vet at #5. That was basically our rotation as well (Wang, Andy, two kids and Moose). Their kids have been pitching better and Manny was a monster for awhile. Now, take the Sox, have Lester tank a few starts and Manny and Ortiz on the DL and we can talk. Do I also need to remind you that in order for the Sox to get where they are now they had to finish behind the Blue Jays two years ago?
2008-04-30 22:18:12
11.   tommyl
I have a fun game! If IPK pitches poorly tomorrow, lets play: Guess what injury he'll suddenly have the day after his start?

My guess: How about mosquito bite on his right index finger! Can't grip that changeup!

2008-04-30 22:25:49
12.   tommyl
11 "Well, I saw the mosquito in the 3rd inning, but it didn't really start bothering me till after I came out. I went back to the trainers and they gave me some calamine lotion, but this morning when I woke up, it was really itching. Since I've never been bitten by one before, we don't know how long it will take to heal so we felt it was best to shut it down and get better."
2008-04-30 22:47:55
13.   cocorn
Zack:And I won't even get into that last line

Read:I don't have anything to refute your line of thinking, so I'll just put out this meaningless line...

2008-04-30 22:57:04
14.   Mattpat11
7 I'd consider his comments on the crossups in particular both mature and stand up.

I think the very fact that it happened again almost immediately when Ohlendorf came in suggests that Stewart was to blame. I think Hughes accepted the blame for something he wasn't responsible for in order to protect a teammate, which is an admirable trait you don't see all that often.

2008-04-30 23:52:57
15.   weeping for brunnhilde
I just don't know what to say.

I'm glad I missed the game tonight. What a sad state of affairs.

Derek needs to catch on fire. He's got to step up. We need him now more than ever.

Melky hopefully will continue to produce and Hideki's been solid, though he'd be better if he cut his fucking swing down in certain spots, but whatever.

Abreu? Where's he been?

We have enough talent to start winning games, even with Jorgie and Alex out sick.

Cano, man.

And Giambi is what he is, so whatever with him. I just wish at the very least we'd never have to watch him in the field again.

God, it's amazing we've won as many games as we have.

2008-05-01 05:19:16
16.   Sliced Bread
re: the injuries: are the Yankee fans and media recipients of misinformation, or disinformation, and what difference does it really make to us?
Regardless of whether we're being lied to, truth is, this team looks lost and feeble, while the men who run it increasingly appear desperate and self-defensive.
A four or five game win-streak could quickly change these perceptions, just as opening a window can make an unpleasant stench go away.
I don't mind getting bad information from Girardi as much as I mind the uninspired performance on the field.
2008-05-01 05:39:17
17.   rbj
Very frustrating. Having a pitcher on the ropes like that and letting him escape. Grr. Only getting two runs that inning isn't too bad though. What really gets me is that Bonderman threw 100 pitches in 7.2 innings. 27 of those, over 1/4 in that inning. 73 in 6.2 innings is about 11 pitches per inning. Did everyone on the team have a hot date last night? Seems like that's the only way they can score right now.
2008-05-01 05:44:48
18.   idahoyankee
Seems the Yankees and Rays have switched uniforms.......
2008-05-01 05:56:12
19.   williamnyy23
I said it last night, but I not only don't have a problem with the Yankees keeping roster decisions and injuries close to the vest, but I endorse it. There is no tactical advantage achieved by disclosing potential decisions before they are made. Sure, the advantage the other way might be miniscule, but even a small benefit is worth the effort.

The real issue here is a group of entitled sportswriters who feel they should be privy to everything being considered by the organization. I personally don't care about how easy it is for them to do their jobs; that shouldn't be the Yankees priority either.

If the Yankees were playing well, this wouldn't even be an issue. As mentioned, the Patriots do quite well under a veil of secrecy. The media might not like it, but I haven't heard too many Pats fans complain about how the team is run.

2008-05-01 06:05:51
20.   riclaimbeer
"Do I also need to remind you that in order for the Sox to get where they are now they had to finish behind the Blue Jays two years ago? "

i dont understand how the sox 2006 place in the standings has anything to do with where they are now?

2008-05-01 06:11:04
21.   Sliced Bread
19 The problem with the mis/disinformation (which is different than playing cards close to vest) is that as far as the fans are concerned, it literally adds insult to injury.

The truth about these injuries is revealed shortly (sometimes days, sometimes hours) after the wrong information is being disseminated. But to follow your poker analogy, how long can the Yanks keep bluffing before their cards are exposed?

Yes, winning changes everything, but bluffing and losing only makes losing look worse, follow?

2008-05-01 06:17:38
22.   williamnyy23
21 I don't see how fans are hurt...does it matter that Girardi said Hughes was healthy in the morning BEFORE being examined and placed on the DL at 6:30PM? That sure didn't affect me. What would be the point about Joe blabbing about Phil's oblique before a decision was made. What if they decided to have him make his next start. Might that information encourage the Mariners to maybe bunt more, or take more pitches or whatever?

As for bluffing, I don't get the analogy. How does someone call the Yankees bluff that Hughes was healthy yesterday morning? By assuming he is injured? If so, what's the difference anyway?

Again, I believe this only has legs because writers will whine about it. Unless you are a gambler of fantasy addict, I don't see how this approach negatively impacts fans.

2008-05-01 06:29:53
23.   Sliced Bread
22 If fans feel they are being lied to, they feel insulted, see? Adding insult to injury. This has nothing to do with gambling or fantasy as far as I'm concerned.

Here's how Pete Abe broke the story on his blog:

UPDATE, 9:01 p.m.: The Yankees just announced that Phil Hughes has a strained right oblique and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list. So much for "he's in the rotation right now." Why the Yankees work like that, I have no idea. But this allows Hughes to chill out and get some work in without being demoted.

UPDATE, 9:16 p.m.: For the record, Girardi said Hughes was healthy when asked before the game. I guess Hughes got hurt while sitting on the bench.

UPDATE, 10:24 p.m.: Girardi now says that Hughes told them he was hurt yesterday. But this afternoon, when asked, he said Hughes was healthy.

2008-05-01 06:32:53
24.   Sliced Bread
22 does Pete Abe seem to be whining, William, or is he pointing out the inconsistencies in the varying assessments of Hughes? I say it's the latter.
2008-05-01 06:34:55
25.   vockins
23 I'm having difficulty understanding why I should feel insulted that the Yankees don't want to reveal the details of the health of its players.
2008-05-01 06:37:24
26.   Sliced Bread
25 then don't feel insulted. Some fans do.

For the record, and as I stated in 16 it doesn't really matter to me. What matters to me is the crap ball the Yanks are playing.

2008-05-01 06:43:11
27.   horace-clarke-era
22 23 Far be it from me to agree with william ( :) ) but there's a piece in the NY Times that talks about fans feeling empowered, in control ... the specific context is Delgado 'refusing' a make-up curtain call after being booed steadily for awhile. He decided not to just accede to the fans - Delgado is a pretty strong-willed guy, anyhow. The cheers for a curtain call immediately became boos because he didn't do what they wanted.

In some ways, and the #21 thing touches it (where william and I DISagree!) I think fandom's feeling that increased entitlement, and managers, maybe some players have trouble with it. (Others play into it, feed it, with blogs etc.)

We KNOW so much now, so swiftly, we feel irked and cheated when we aren't given the inside dope as soon as the team has it. Bread, I tend to agree with your thinking on a lot, but why exactly do we have a right to know? Where does 'insulted' kick in with respect to a team we just follow? We pay our money (some do, anyhow) it gives us 'rights'? Some use this to pressure a player (through teammates) to give up his chosen number, others get upset about a team being coy with injuries.

I confess I don't quite see it. And I DO see the media being a big part of the 'you OWE me the story!' thing. My best guess is that the speed of info plays a big role here. We can get team bulletins (like Pete Abe's) every hour or so, instead of just at the end of the day.

There was even something I saw where Alex was rumored to be out for the season because a tech said that (techs should NEVER talk!), then it was reversed immediately after doctors weighed in. But the tech guy's report MADE the media cycle.

(Incidentally, if Alex was done for the season this steady-as-a-rock observer might just reverse ground on Barry for a year. I swear it was the first thing that crossed my mind.)

2008-05-01 06:55:15
28.   monkeypants
I don't really care if the Yankees are straight with me (ie, the fans) about the injuries to their players. That is because long ago I realized that when they said a player was fine, he was really hurt; when they said he was day to day, he would really be out a week; and in any case they would dick around with putting him on the DL anyway, ideally carrying three catchers or having no functional back up infielder or the like.

See, once you understand these few simple rules, everything becomes a lot easier.

2008-05-01 06:56:18
29.   vockins
26 Can you explain why the fans that are insulted feel that way?

I can come around to being insulted. I just don't get why, as a fan, I should be insulted yet.

2008-05-01 06:57:44
30.   horace-clarke-era
29 Vockins, have 3 beers it gets easier! :)
2008-05-01 07:03:01
31.   Shaun P
Forget the sportswriter side.

And forget the Pats. Belichik's ridiculous injury reports are stupid. I know many Pats fans who feel that way.

If a team wants to keep information secret, I have no problems with that. The A's are (in)famous for saying nothing about injuries. If the Yanks want to keep Hughes' DL trip a secret, so the M's have a few less hours to prepare for Sunday's game, fine. Don't lie. Just don't say anything. Lying breeds mistrust. If we fans can't trust what comes out of Girardi/Cashman/the Yanks' mouths on the little stuff (Hughes is fine, he said he was fine today, no he isn't, no he didn't), why should we trust them on the big stuff? Example of the big stuff: Joba is going to start, that's the plan.

BTW - lies spoken when playing the free agent market is a whole other ball game, one I have no problem with. In that case, the team is trying to create leverage vis a vis agents.

2008-05-01 07:06:18
32.   Sliced Bread
27 To me, this "problem" (insignificant as it may be) is less about whether fans and the media have the right to know, and more about how the Yanks braintrust is being perceived.

It looks to me like Girardi is either getting bad information about his players, or would rather lie than be coy. There's a difference. Say nothing if you don't know, or act like you don't know, but saying Player X is fine, when in a matter of hours he's going to the DL, doesn't help one's credibility.

Whether he's disseminating disinformation or misinformation, Girardi will have diffculty earning fans' trust and respect consistently saying one thing, when the opposite is revealed to be true.

But again, again, again... I'm more concerned about bad play than bad info.

Winning will make this "problem" go away. I think we all agree on that.

2008-05-01 07:07:41
33.   EdB
Along the lines of Phil Hughes injury, it seems to me this might have come from the very top. Rather than deal with the media for demoting the main dealbreaker in the Santana deal they get to give him some time off which would help with his innings limit (not that he's eating those up right now) and then they get to have a few rehab starts in AAA which everyone has been calling for anyway.

Also, the heavy schedule in April contributes to a lighter one in May. With off days they may only need a 5th starter 3-4 times.

Seems like a PR move to me.

2008-05-01 07:19:11
34.   Max
If the Yankees want to be secretive about injuries, that's their right. Media management is another story -- being cavalier about the treatment of "entitled sportswriters" in a market like New York usually doesn't lead to good results.

Whatever people think about reporters, they can wreak havoc with public opinion and within a team's organization by exploiting leaks and pitting people against each other. And these sorts of things can eventually become distractions for a team, especially for an inexperienced manager who's demonstrated a tenuous ability to be able to shield his players from such distractions.

Ask Isaiah Thomas and Jimmy Dolan how well their arrogant, lying treatment of the media did for the Knicks organization. (or in a baseball example, the Red Sox regime of Harrington and Duquette) We're not anywhere near there yet, but jerking writers around gracelessly -- as much as it pleases certain internet rabble who have little use for beat writers -- isn't something a worldwide brand like the Yankees wants to be doing on a regular basis.

2008-05-01 07:20:56
35.   williamnyy23
23 I guess I don't see it as fans are being lied to. When asked before the game, the Yankees had not diagnoses Hughes' problem. Therefore, Girardi said he was healthy. Once the diagnosis was made, the Yankees DL'ed him. Pete Abe's snarky and sensitive comments aside, a lie was not told, in my estimation.

24 Yes, that seems like whining to me. I guess Pete Abe wanted Girardi to tell him about Hughes' potential injury before it was diagnosed. As a Yankee fan, I don't want that information out there until it is confirmed.

2008-05-01 07:23:24
36.   horace-clarke-era
33 Ed, I thought about this, too. It could easily be face-saving all around. The proof will be when he starts throwing though. It would be bone-dumb to have him NOT throw a ball for a week or two if he is NOT injured. You get caught that way and - I think this is Bread's point - you look stupid and defeat the face-saving purpose anyhow. My guess (obviously only that) is that he does have a minor injury, and it dovetails with some inclination to give him time to regroup. It may have taken a day or two to get the story straight (for the team) because it isn't purely medical.

His fastball ... wasn't he down to 91-92 towards the end of last year after the DL stint? In other words, is this ongoing? Or was he (reliably) faster in spring?

The eye thing: someone asked yesterday ... did he have LASIK surgery? There's a study launched on the 5% or so having fairly serious negative effects which include haloes (not the Vlad type) from streetlights and such. Stadium lights are a lot MORE than streetlights.

2008-05-01 07:26:34
37.   williamnyy23
31 What Pete Abe is complaining about is that Girardi is saying nothing. For example, see his anger at Girardi's refusal to say Abreu was benched against a lefty for reasons other than needing rest.

I also don't see the Hughes situation as constituting a like. If asked before 6:30PM, Hughes was undiagnosed, so it is fair to say he was fine.

32 I guess we see it differently, but I don't think fans care one way or the other about whether they can "trust" Girardi. They just want him to have the team playing well...period.

2008-05-01 07:29:01
38.   williamnyy23
34 Maybe it's just me, but I think the days of newspaper men wielding power is now over. Also, the Knicks are not mired in chaos because of their media policy...they are a sinking ship because their players suck.
2008-05-01 07:29:35
39.   EdB
I hope he didn't have that surgery. It doesn't seem to make sense to me for a 20 yr old pitcher to take that big a risk on his eyes. If he needed to contacts or glasses would be less bothersome on the mound I think then in the field. But if you're numbers are correct Horace, I wouldn't even go near that laser.
2008-05-01 07:43:28
40.   Shaun P
37 If Girardi says nothing, Pete Abe can complain all he wants, it doesn't bother me. Its the lying I don't like. And on that note, we'll have to agree to disagree on the diagnose stuff.

38 I think Max's point was - if he doesn't mind me throwing my $0.02 in - is that the Knicks' were in a horrible situation, due to their awful play/players/Isiah, and that insane media policy made it worse. Why do that? What is to be gained by taking a bad situation and intentionally worsening it?

2008-05-01 07:50:07
41.   Sliced Bread
37 "If asked before 6:30PM, Hughes was undiagnosed, so it is fair to say he was fine."

C'mon, William. Again, here's Pete Abe from last night:

UPDATE, 10:24 p.m.: Girardi now says that Hughes told them he was hurt yesterday (Tuesday). But this afternoon (Wednesday), when asked, he said Hughes was healthy.

Nothing fishy there, William, really? Okay, if you say so, but your "pre-6:30" argument is sort of akin to saying:

I found a lifeless body in the trunk of a car on Tuesday. But the coroner didn't arrive until after 6:30pm on Wednesday. He officially diagnosed the person I found as "deceased" at around 7:30pm Wednesday, so, when you asked me earlier that day if the body I discovered was a dead person, I was correct in stating the lifeless person was "fine."

2008-05-01 07:59:13
42.   williamnyy23
40 I don't agree that the Knicks media policy made things worse because the situation was as bad as can be without it.

41 No, I am sorry, there is nothing fishy there. Before the official diagnosis, I have no problem with a team saying a player is fine. Otherwise, you have to say there is something wrong, which defeats the purpose of waiting for the confirmed diagnosis. Also, if you say there is something wrong, but it's unknown, you'll wind up with wild speculation. So, no, I don't think there is anything wrong with Girardi's tact. If Pete Abe can't wait for confirmed facts, so be it.

Your analogy is also silly. Aside from the wild difference in circumstances, I think we can safely say that a dead man doesn't require a diagnosis, whereas a "sore" Phil Hughes is probably in need of medical expertise.

2008-05-01 08:02:09
43.   Sliced Bread
42 heh. Whatever you say, Kool Aid!
2008-05-01 08:08:02
44.   williamnyy23
43 Kool Aid? Didn't realize the qualification for being objective was agreeing with you.
2008-05-01 08:13:37
45.   Max
38 I used to think this...as long as the team wins, who cares about how they treat the media? And the Patriots would seem to back that up, at least with their initial years of success. But Boston is a baseball town, not a football town (so the Pats were treated with kid gloves for a while)...plus reporters get much more access with baseball and can't be so easily straight-armed on an ongoing basis.

The Patriots are still a top of the line organization, but look at how much crap they've taken from spygate, and how much even minor things like Belichick leaving the field two seconds early in the Super Bowl was covered. That's a result of the approach Belichick takes with the media...lots of people out to get him.

The Harrington-Duquette Red Sox were having a very good season in 2001...heck, the fans even supported the disastrous mid-season replacement of Jimy Williams with Joe Kerrigan. But then the wheels came off and the press pounced when the team tanked at the end of the season. All the poor communications, all the dysfunction, really came back to hurt the organization.

I think Girardi still gets a pass for now...it's way too early. But if this somehow ends up as a rebuilding year, he doesn't help himself by being so evasive and being caught in lies -- he and Cashman do have to sell the press and public on the decisions the team is making, after all, and how does he do that if they don't trust him? How do other players, other free agents process media turmoil from afar? I don't think these are trivial considerations.

As far as the Knicks, the media treatment definitely worsened the situation -- unless you don't think there's a difference between being an organization that's made some bad decisions and had some bad apples, and being considered one of the worst organizations in sports ever. The Knicks are the butt of just about every joke out there, an absolutely radioactive situation...and it didn't have to be that way, and yes, media relations did make a difference.

In fact, the comical Kremlin type control of the media by the Knicks has kept their dysfunction an ongoing story and exemplified it.

2008-05-01 08:15:18
46.   Sliced Bread
44 oh, I was just kidding. My bad.
2008-05-01 08:28:52
47.   yankster
19 I agree that as a fan I don't feel like there's any deception going on here that hurts me. I do think that the yanks are being liberal in their use of the DL and so are being creative in their retrospective interpretation of health information. If that means they don't use up a Phil Hughes option while getting another roster spot - that's great for me as a fan.

I'll also submit that many of you are making this look like a binary, good versus evil world. I bet Hughes has felt a number of different sensations in his arm some of which are healthy soreness and some of which he wasn't comfortable with and these are difficult for him to communicate and difficult for others to interpret.

Girardi has an OBLIGATION to keep his players comments to himself until he is in a position to make a decision. It lets his players tell him about their concerns without him slinging them around the minors or the DL. It seems to me that Girardi thought there was an outside chance after hearing about Hughes soreness yesterday that he'd let him pitch through it, or just wait another day to see how it felt. "In the rotation for now" is about as clear as someone can be that they are trying to make a decision but haven't yet. The fact that he said everything was fine and then changed his mind is hardly deceptive.

What annoys me is this sense that there is pernicious lying going on. What motivation would Girardi have to make the reporters look bad? I think he's just "muddling through" in the strict decision theory sense and that doesn't give us the clean linear narrative we might want. And then some reporters feel like he's making their job hard. Girardi's behavior is a lot more like my life than the linear story one I sometimes have to read, and a lot more interesting.

2008-05-01 08:30:46
48.   tommyl
20 My point was that the previous poster was positing how amazing the Sox were run and how bad the Yankees were. That's looking at things on a very short timescale. For the Sox to build the great team they now have, they had to take a step back and reload in 2005, missing the playoffs. Were they badly run in 2005 when the Yankees won the division and they finished in third?
2008-05-01 08:32:56
49.   Mattpat11
The other thing that alarms me.

I think most of us agree the injury is probably fake.

The lack of organization and communication in this organization is distressing. If they've decided to fake the injury, you'd think the they could at least inform the field manager before hand so he doesn't make an ass of himself trying to twist seven different ways trying to explain why he's contradicting himself.

2008-05-01 08:36:03
50.   JL25and3
Blaming the media never works, because it's self-defeating, and mostly because it's a load of crap. The team depends mightily on the media, and they can't afford to give them the back of their hand whenever it suits their purposes. The reporters have a job to do, and it's in the team's best interest to help the do their jobs well.

As others have said, it's okay to say nothing, and even to say that you can't comment on thus-and-such. But I think it's sophistry to suggest that Girardi wasn't lying - all the evidence suggests that he's been saying things that he knew weren't true, which qualifies as a lie in my book. He didn't just say "we don't know of any injury," he said Hughes was fine when he knew there was a problem.

On top of that, Girardi is getting mighty testy with the media already. It's only May 1. If he's got trouble dealing with the NY media, this isn't the job for him.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-05-01 08:40:09
51.   williamnyy23
47 Perfectly said. Your post is now my official position!

50 See 47 :)

2008-05-01 08:56:03
52.   JL25and3
47 , 51 I'm not exactly sure what that "obligation" is supposed to be. what's the problem with saying what he knows, and leaving it as unresolved?

Furthermore, he also has an obligation to the reporters, and to the fans. That's a fact of life, and of the job.

I've resisted the comparison, but I can't keep Torre's name out of this any longer. He was straight with the press and with the public - and if he didn't want to comment, or if a situation was uncertain, he said so. When did his approach ever violate any obligation he had towards the team or his players? How did it ever do harm?

I'm not expecting Girardi to be Torre, and I don't even want him to be. But this was Torre's strength, and Girardi's going to have to find some better way to deal with it. If he doesn't - and if he continues to be testy about it - he's going to have a very hard time of it. Again, this is an integral part of his job description, every bit as much as his in-game moves.

2008-05-01 09:15:46
53.   Shaun P
52 The comparison is apt, but in his defense, Girardi has only been on the job for a month's worth of regular season games. Torre has had bad stretches before - the A-Rod SI article comes to mind. I'm sure if we dug, we'd find more.

I also think this is why many of us have said all along that you don't want to be the guy following Torre - if/when things go bad, you'll constantly be compared to a legend, fair or not. You want to be the guy following the guy who followed Torre.

2008-05-01 09:31:10
54.   rbj
41 Um, it wasn't a maroon Cadillac was it?
2008-05-01 09:33:25
55.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I'm going to both go out on a limb and also do so through rose colored glasses and predict that this injury crisis will foster a 2008 version of the wang-cano-melky call up from a few years back. Some of the guys called (who succeed) will be surprises, some won't. This, combined with Cano figuring it out, will keep us afloat, and possibly moreso, for the month+ it'll take to get everyone back to 100%. That's what I keep telling myself anyway...

As for all this "deception" - don't agree, and don't care. My $.02.

2008-05-01 09:34:52
56.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
52 "Again, this is an integral part of his job description, every bit as much as his in-game moves. "

Ummmmmmm, NO. Thanks for playing though.

2008-05-01 09:46:56
57.   liam
36 most dr's wont give lasik to people under the age of 25...
2008-05-01 10:06:16
58.   williamnyy23
52 Girardi offered up too much information, IMHO. See the Joba rules as an example.

Girardi's obligation to reporters and fans is to disclose information when it is available and confirmed. I fully believe the Yankees were not sure about what to do with Hughes until just before game time yesterday. Therefore, I don't think he lied, nor do I think he violated his responsibility to the media.

While an issue like this could ultimately make Girardi's life easier (for example, Torre was never questioned for anything), it really doesn't matter on the field. Both approaches to the media work when you have great players.

2008-05-01 10:11:48
59.   williamnyy23
56 I agree...this is not an integral part of the job description. Sure, the media always tries to tell us that it is, but I'd like to think we all know better.

58 That should be Torre offered up to much information.

2008-05-01 10:28:20
60.   Zack
56 thats not a productive or useful retort. Besides, if you are honestly trying to say that dealing with fans and the media and protecting his players isn't an integral, essential part of being the Yankees manager, than you are the one who shouldn't be "playing." Joe Torre was who he was precisely because of that ability. There are very few people who would defend Torre as a brilliant in game manager (not terrible mind you, but it was hardly what "made" him). But nearly 100% of people will say that what made Torre successful and led to his staying power was his ability to be a social worker, to deflect all criticism from his players onto himself, to build a report with the media to the point of reverential worship, and to at the very least come across as straightforward and honest.

If you can't do that in New York, if you can't negotiate the media and fans, you won't be long for the job. Period. You could be the greatest in game manager ever but you'll never hold your job, and lets be honest, Girardi hasn't exactly blown anyone away yet, now has he?

2008-05-01 10:32:12
61.   Zack
William, you are reading far too much into the importance of "secrecy" or however you want to put it. Sure, perhaps it makes a tiny percent of a difference whether or not Seattle knows if Hughes is going to start over the course of a few hours, but lets be honest, it really doesn't make a lick of difference. And there is no, zero, zilch, reason that Girardi and Cashman couldn't have been on the same boat by that time and that Girardi couldn't simply say, "you know, that's really Brian's area, so talk to him." or "I'm not 100% clear right now so I'll get back to you" or some crap like this.

But you, being the same person who argues for the rights of fans to boo because they are the ones supporting this team and paying etc, should be the first one in line to condemn the organization for giving a big middle finger to the fans. But no, you just want to go against the grain it would seem..

2008-05-01 10:53:33
62.   cult of basebaal
here's another lovely tidbit ... from kat o'brien's blog:

Here are some deets on Hughes's injury. Also, not to scare you all with another potential injury, but Johnny Damon had a huge wrap around his upper left leg after the game. I asked him what was wrong, and he said he tweaked his left groin during the day game in Cleveland. I asked if he's OK, and he said: "I've got to be. We've got too many guys out."

2008-05-01 12:57:01
63.   Chyll Will
62 Maybe it's me, but does it seem like the conditioning mandate hasn't worked out too well?
2008-05-01 13:09:27
64.   hoppystone
Hey, why doesn't Hughes just get glasses?
Farnsworth wears glasses. And look at how he does...
2008-05-01 14:24:06
65.   JL25and3
56 , 59 This is New York, and the Yankees. You really think that dealing successfully with the media isn't a critical part of the manager's job? Of course it is.
2008-05-01 14:41:06
66.   tommyl
The fun continues. Hughes has a fractured rib. No throwing for four weeks minimum.
2008-05-01 14:42:20
67.   randym77
Well, I guess I was wrong about it being a fake injury.

But jeez, it's starting to look like Phil Phranchise is kinda phragile...

2008-05-01 14:46:13
68.   tommyl
67 If Kennedy doesn't pitch well tonight we could be back to watching Kei Igawa very, very soon. Shit, not a good week to be a Yankees fan.
2008-05-01 15:29:30
69.   Zack
Seriously, the need for Kennedy to step up and figure things out has increased tenfold.
2008-05-01 15:34:55
70.   Just fair
67 Not his arm. Not his elbow. Not his shoulder. Still phlat out sucks. Could the Re-energized and healthy Phil be the key "trade addtion" come the All-Star Break. Oh boy.
2008-05-01 16:07:42
71.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
To be crystal clear, I never refuted the idea that dealing with the media wasn't an important part of the job, just that it was not AS important as in-game decisions, which is what the OP I was responding to said.

If you think it is, you're wrong.

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